Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vaccine pitch during his UNGA address on Saturday went down well with several heads of African and South American countries with many delegates thanking him for offering to make India the hub of the global production of the anti-corona shots and restoring supplies.
The rate of vaccination has been poor in these regions with Latin America and Caribbean recording a meagre 28% vaccination till the current month. The most affected in Africa, South Africa, has been able to vaccinate only 26% of its population and India’s pledge was seen as significant, said official sources.
The Quad leaders, in a joint statement, agreed to donate more than 1.2 million doses of Covid vaccine globally and welcomed India’s move to resume export of the vaccines. Modi drew a good attendance when he addressed the UN general assembly and officials accompanying him said the hall was filled, specially with delegates from African and South American nations.
After PM Modi concluded his UNGA address, several African delegates and foreign ministers came up to him backstage and appreciated his speech.
The PM also utilised his visit to showcase India’s soft power as he gave unique gifts to the foreign dignitaries.
Sources said the Prime Minister’s gift to President Joe Biden was a painted Lord Buddha in Kadam wood (white wood). Kadam wood is a popular choice for handicrafts, with the Kadam tree having a special association with Lord Krishna. The figure of Lord Buddha was crafted in Rajasthan and depicts him seated in a meditative posture showing blessings with his right hand.
On return, the PM was greeted by BJP president J P Nadda while hundreds of people had reached the airport as well.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh said, “I welcome PM Narendra Modi on his return to India from an extremely successful and fruitful visit to the United States.”